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Br J Anaesth. 1985 May;57(5):524-30.

Photo-electric plethysmography as a monitoring device in anaesthesia. Application and interpretation.


The optical principle of photo-electric plethysmography is described and the clinical significance of changes in the amplitude of the plethysmogram discussed. Physiologically, changes in blood volume pulsations depend on the distensibility of the vessel wall as well as on the intravascular pulse pressure. The importance of both factors in the interpretation of changes in the arterial pulse amplitude is illustrated by examples from 500 continuous recordings. In addition, it is shown that changes in the height of ventilatory waves may be of diagnostic significance.

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